Giant Jim Morrison lizard and climate change
June 5th, 2013
04:39 AM ET

Giant Jim Morrison lizard and climate change

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

To get through the long, tedious hours sitting in the fossil archives at the University of California-Berkeley, Jason Head would listen to the hypnotic sounds of The Doors.

So when he happened upon one of the biggest lizards that ever walked on land, he found it fitting to name it after the band's frontman, Jim Morrison - the original Lizard King.

But that's not what makes this find interesting. It's what the existence of the "Bearded King Morrison" tells us about the effects of climate change that's intriguing.

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Filed under: Climate • Discoveries • Global Warming • News • On Earth • Science Seat
Triceratops trio unearthed in Wyoming
The bones being unearthed near Newcastle, Wyoming, may be among the most complete Triceratops skeletons yet found.
June 3rd, 2013
11:05 PM ET

Triceratops trio unearthed in Wyoming

By Matt Smith, CNN

There were three of them, one of them probably a child, and at least one met a gruesome end at the hands of a terrifying predator.

About 67 million years later, a Wyoming rancher led scientists to their remains. Now experts are digging out one of the most complete skeletons yet of a Triceratops, the three-horned, plant-eating dinosaur that was one of the last of the giant reptiles.

"There's only three other skeletons that will match the completeness of one of the specimens we're excavating right now," said paleontologist Peter Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.

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Filed under: Dinosaurs • Discoveries • On Earth
Large asteroid zipping past Earth towing moon
May 31st, 2013
05:06 AM ET

Large asteroid zipping past Earth towing moon

An asteroid is whizzing past Earth on Friday - and it's traveling with its own moon in tow.

1998 QE2, as NASA has named it, will not come anywhere near enough to collide with our world.

The closest it will come is about 3.6 million miles away - that's over 15 times the distance to our moon. It will reach that point just before 5 p.m. ET.

But it's giving astronomers the "best look at this asteroid ever," NASA said.

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Filed under: Discoveries • In Space • News • Science Friday
May 31st, 2013
04:52 AM ET

Will mammoths be cloned?

Remember when woolly mammoths roamed the planet? No? Well don't worry if you missed the last ice age - scientists have moved one step closer to possibly bringing the beasts back to life with the discovery of liquid blood in a well-preserved mammoth carcass in Siberia.

Researchers from the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk found the 10,000-year-old female mammoth buried in ice on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the coast of northeast Russia.

Scientists say they poked the frozen creature with a pick and dark liquid blood flowed out.

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Filed under: Discoveries • News • On Earth • Science Friday
New dinosaur is a primitive bird
May 30th, 2013
04:29 AM ET

New dinosaur is a primitive bird

A dinosaur from the Middle-Late Jurassic period, found in China, gives scientists new understandings of how birds evolved, according to a Wednesday report from the journal Nature.

The newly discovered species is called Aurornis xui. "Aurora" is Latin for "daybreak" or "dawn." Ornis is Greek for "bird." The last part of the name, xui, honors paleontologist Xu Xing.

The dinosaur lived about 150 million years ago, said Pascal Godefroit, lead author and researcher at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels.

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Filed under: Dinosaurs • Discoveries • News • On Earth
Statue found in Mexico
May 24th, 2013
12:31 PM ET

Statue of ancient athlete found in Mexico

By CNN Mexico Staff

Read this story in Spanish at CNNMéxico.com

A granite statue that could be more than 1,000 years old, carved with the effigy of a Mesoamerican ball player, has been discovered in the Mexican state of Guerrero, the country's National Institute of Anthropology and History said.

The statue was found a few weeks ago when residents of Ometepec, a municipality southwest of Mexico City, were installing pipes to transport water to the archaeological zone of Piedra Labrada, according the institute.

Pablo Sereno Uribe, the archaeologist in charge of the research, explained that the statue "is the representation of a decapitated ball game player. He has his arms crossed over his chest, and the legs are slightly curved. Accessories such as a helmet, a yoke close to his waist and round stones or 'chalchihuites' in the ears were observed.”

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Filed under: Discoveries • On Earth
What's the matter with antimatter?
This illustration shows what might happen when matter and antimatter annihilate each other.
May 2nd, 2013
04:13 AM ET

What's the matter with antimatter?

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

Nuclear scientists in Switzerland recently dropped some antimatter. The world didn't blow up, but there were some tiny explosions.

Scientists are hoping the experiment will teach them more about how the universe developed after the Big Bang.

Physicists with ALPHA Collaboration research group are trying to figure out how antimatter interacts with gravity, and if it produces "antigravity," says the group's founder, Jeffrey Hangst.

Their experiment mirrors the way Sir Isaac Newton came up with the law of gravity in the late 17th century.

Legend has it that an apple fell off a tree and hit the English nobleman on the head.

Newton got to thinking how gravity made the apple speed up as it fell.

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Filed under: Discoveries • News • On Earth • Particle physics
Oldest dinosaur embryos discovered
A color-filtered image of a dinosaur embryo fossil shows a preserved thigh bone. The honeycomb-like structure is bone tissue.
April 10th, 2013
02:50 PM ET

Oldest dinosaur embryos discovered

By Azadeh Ansari, CNN

Everyone knows dinosaurs were gigantic, but they grew from tiny embryos just like birds do. What were these extinct reptiles like at this early stage of development?

Scientists have found some new clues that could shed light on this age-old mystery.

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists said they have discovered the oldest known collection of fossilized dinosaur embryos.

"In a way, I think we have set a new standard for dinosaur embryology," said paleontologist Robert Reisz, the lead study author.

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Filed under: Dinosaurs • Discoveries • On Earth
Near death researcher describes 'afterlife'
April 9th, 2013
08:53 AM ET

Near death researcher describes 'afterlife'

You're about to go to "heaven" and live to tell about it. And your story will become the subject of scientific research.

It's the perfect day. You're strolling down a sidewalk, listening to an ensemble of bird songs, soaking up a balmy breeze fragranced with fresh spring flowers, and gazing up at a cloudless sky of pure azure.

Pleasantly distracted, you step off the sidewalk into the street. Brakes screech; horns blare; people shriek in horror. You snap back to reality ... just as the truck hits you.

You fly for yards like a rag doll; you land hard. You're numb all over and fading fast. It's all over; you know it. Your life flashes before you like an epic movie. The End.

You leave your body and look down at it. People are bending over it. Someone is sobbing uncontrollably. As the ambulance rushes up, a blinding light surges above you. It beckons you softly.

You follow it through a tunnel to a place much more vividly real and spectacular than the banner Sunday afternoon you just left behind. You are sure you have arrived in the hereafter.

Weeks later, you wake up to the steady beeps of an EKG monitor next to your hospital bed.

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Filed under: Commentary • Discoveries
Space station detector finds first clues to 'dark matter'
A Hubble Space Telescope image indicating a huge ring of dark matter around the center of the CL0024+17 cluster of galaxies.
April 4th, 2013
11:01 AM ET

Space station detector finds first clues to 'dark matter'

By CNN's Laura Smith-Spark

Nearly two years after it was sent up to the International Space Station, a giant particle physics detector has provided its first results in the search for the mysterious "dark matter" believed to be a major component of the universe.

The international team running the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer released its initial findings Wednesday at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, in Switzerland.

The scientists are studying flux in cosmic rays, the charged high-energy particles that permeate space, for evidence of the invisible dark matter particles colliding with each other, leading to what is termed "annihilation."

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